President’s Corner

Karen J. Souter, MB, BS, FRCA, MACM

I am writing this message over the Thanksgiving holiday, a time to pause and be with family and friends. A time at the end of the year to find space in our frenetic lives for reflection, to draw breath, and look forward to the coming year. As I begin my tenure as president of the SEA, I am very aware of my many predecessors who, not only during their time as president, but in the many years of service that preceded their presidency, have been instrumental in shaping the direction of our society. As I pause and take a mental snapshot of where the SEA is now, I see a busy, vibrant society.

  • We create innovative meetings to disseminate up-to-date information, ideas and practical tools on subjects that are important to educators. Recent examples include “Training Professional, Humanistic Anesthesiologists” in Louisville (Spring 2018) and “Well-Being: Translating Concepts into Action” in San Francisco (Fall 2018). 
  • We have a PubMed-listed academic journal, the Journal of Education in Perioperative Medicine (JEPM).
  • We offer an annual $10,000 SEAd Grant, a starter education grant for new educational researchers.

As I look to see what is emerging for our organization I see increasing interest from our peer national educational organizations in what we have created and what we have to offer. 

  • For many years the SEA has presented a panel at the ASA meeting and the recent Fall 2018 panel “How to Succeed in Business, Learning and Life: The 21st Century Mindset" had a record attendance! 
  • This year SEA presented a well-attended panel “Managing Professionalism Issues in the Workplace” at the IARS meeting in Chicago.
  • Recently the ASA reached out asking for our help in co-creating an advanced educator award to recognize the achievements of anesthesiology educators nationally. 
  • The ACGME has invited a SEA member to participate in the Anesthesiology Milestones 2.0 working group.
  • Our Fall 2019 meeting will be in Chicago on Thursday November 7, co-located with the SAAAPM, so we can strengthen our alliances with the academic leaders in anesthesiology.

The SEA is recognized for its educational expertise and success, and collaboration seems to be the theme of the moment!

So how are we moving forward to embrace these potential collaborations in structured and intentional ways? How are we building on the strong foundation and hard work of so many past presidents, officers and members?

It is becoming a tradition for the incoming SEA president to host a biennial strategic planning meeting for the Board of Directors and SEA Committee leaders immediately after the fall meeting. This year we focused on three key areas; 1) Educational Meetings, 2) Collaboration with other Groups and 3) Supporting our Committees and Emerging Leaders. These topics align perfectly with the theme of collaboration as we grow and move forward outside of our usual boundaries. The key action items resulting from the strategic planning meeting will focus on;

  • Our Educational Meetings committee, which will be working with innovative presentation techniques such as TED-style talks, short, high-impact panels and story-telling techniques.
  • A newly formed task force for collaboration and out-reach, so we can share our expertise and grow our collaborations with other societies. This group is already working with SNACC to present an educational workshop at their upcoming Spring meeting.
  • Our committees, which have critical roles operationalizing the goals of our society. Strong committee leadership is vital to our continued success as an organization and a new “council” of committee chairs, co-chairs and chair designees will meet for the first time at the Spring 2019 meeting. This group, led by the President-Elect, will focus on peer-support, mentoring and collaboration between the committee leaders and will be a place where our next generation of SEA board members and officers will be able to gain leadership experience.

Viktor Frankl who was a neurologist wrote “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.

So as you perhaps pause and find some space this holiday season, I invite you to consider the many opportunities for growth our society offers. Become part of our expanding collaborative efforts; join a committee and begin your own leadership journey; contribute a scholarly article to JEPM; apply for our SEAd grant; come to a meeting and teach, learn and network.

You have the power to choose!

I look forward to seeing you in Denver from April 26-29 for the 2019 Spring Meeting.

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